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Ubuntu Linux and Wubi, Can You Digg It?


I just installed Ubuntu last night, one of the many distributions of Linux available out there nowadays. I tried installing it once before on my then new laptop. I had problems getting it to work while retaining my windows partition and gave up. I ended up having to reinstall Vista as the result (horrible operating system - easily the worst Windows ever). My friend Dave explained that there are challenges that make it more difficult to install Linux on a laptop. For one, there can sometimes be complications with wireless internet hardware.

There was a day when I was interested in all the technical nerdy stuff, but now I'm more of a lazy moderate. At least in the case of hardware, I want everything to just work. I don't want to have to hunt down drivers or write them myself. The newer Linux distributions have greatly improved usability, especially when it comes to installation. Unfortunately there is still no guarantee that all hardware devices will be automatically detected, as many hardware companies don't bother to release Linux drivers.

Take my Wacom Graphire 4 graphics tablet for example. Its functionality is not supported by default in Ubuntu. My graphics tablet has been effectively rendered into a really big touch-pad, which really sucks. Even worse, I can't figure out any way to click and drag anything as it is functioning now - quite a nuisance! I'm currently looking at a 3rd party group of people who have come up with some drivers for many common Wacom models. Wacom has not developed any official drivers for Linux and are supporting the work of this independent group. I downloaded the software but am not well versed in installing stuff on Linux (much more difficult than in Windows), so I haven't got it working yet.

What made me to give Linux another shot? I recently read an article on Digg that mentioned a cool Linux tool, Wubi. Wubi is a specialized installer for Ubuntu. It allocates space and installs all the system files. The advantage is that there is no need to set up a separate partition and potentially mess up your Windows installation (normally part of the trouble of setting up a dual boot system). In fact, it allows you to install Ubuntu from within Windows. In addition, the operating system can be uninstalled at will, also from within Windows. So far I haven't noticed any problems with either operating system. The installation appears to be a success. I'm anxious to try some open source software that is being developed with more diligence for the Linux platform. An application of particular interest to me is FontForge, an open source font creation application. Other programs that I am already using in Windows are also available for Linux, including Blender (quite impressive 3D modeling and animation), Inkscape (awesome vector illustration!) and GIMP (decent bitmap editing, though I'm not a huge fan).

I resisted until the end in correcting my title... should be "Can You Digg Them?" But that sounds really dumb, doesn't it? Actually, I didn't start with that title, so I wasn't holding out.

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